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Anderson: I always thought music should be cheaper

Exclusive: Former Yes singer recalls how opinions on keeping costs low for fans kept getting him in trouble

Former Yes singer Jon Anderson says he always wanted music to be cheaper to buy – and he was often told to keep quiet about his opinion.

But he’s retained the belief that it’s more important to help people connect to his work than to profit from it.

Anderson tells Prog’s Mark Blake: “I’ve always thought that music should be for everybody. I remember when the whole thing started with downloads, and people talking about paying for this and not paying for that. I always thought music should be cheaper.”

Even before the internet era, he felt CD prices were too high. “I used to say they should be two dollars each, and in the bargain bin at Woolworths, so we could reach more people,” he recalls.

That always drew ire from then-manager Brian Lane. “Brian used to go crazy – ‘No, Jon, never ever say that! Don’t you ever dare say that!’”

Anderson’s thoughts extended to live performance. “There was a promoter who wanted to put Yes on a bill with another big band. We could have made so much money – but I wouldn’t do it.

“Yes needs two and a half hours to get going. You need the full Yes experience. The promoter was going crazy – ‘You got to do it, Jon.’ But the more he said that, the more I said, ‘I don’t think so.’

“It used to drive Brian crazy when I’d say, ‘We’re going to do four 20-minute pieces on stage tonight.’ He’d say, ‘Why, Jon? You could make millions if you wanted to.’ But I’d say, ‘No, Brian, it’s all about the music.’”

The singer rejects the idea of winding up “on my yacht having champagne,” saying: “I never wanted to do that. Money is great, don’t get me wrong – but let’s not just live because of money.”

The full interview appears in the current edition of Prog, on sale now in print, digital and via TeamRock+.

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